Kaya Henderson Steps Down in DC

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Kaya Henderson has announced her resignation after a five year run at the helm of DCPS.  I have never met Henderson but she has a very good reputation and served in a very difficult job with dignity. The WaPo notes the improvement in DCPS, but also the large achievement gaps in student performance.  This is only part way to understanding what is going on DCPS in my view, as what is most disturbing about DCPS trends is not just the achievement gaps, which are stunning in scope, but rather the relative stagnation in scores among disadvantaged district students.

This is in stark contrast with the trends in DC charters, where low-income students have been making gains far above the national average despite receiving far less funding per pupil than DCPS. It certainly is not Kaya Henderson’s fault that gentrification has taken off in the District, but we should understand clearly that the improvement in DCPS is overwhelming seen among already advantaged students.

Addressing the needs of the District students not born on third base should constitute the top priority of the entire DC community.  At the moment this is an area in which charters are making enviable progress and where DCPS continues to flounder. Every system is perfectly designed to achieve its results, and this goes well beyond any individual.

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3 Responses to Kaya Henderson Steps Down in DC

  1. Mike G says:

    Matt, I thought a recent Urban Institute study controlled for gentrification, and found large gains….

  2. matthewladner says:

    I didn’t see that study, but if you trend out the NAEP data you find gigantic gains among advantaged kids of various sorts- kids whose parents have a college degree, kids whose families do not qualify for a FRL, White kids etc. When you track the NAEP gains for various sorts of disadvantaged DCPS kids- FRL eligible, Black, less educated parents- you see gains that are unremarkable compared to the national average EXCEPT in the DC charter schools.

  3. John Palitano says:

    It’s about time. Good riddance. Between her and her fellow TFA non-education reformer buddy-pal Rhee, they’ve combined to drag DC down to #47 out of 51 in the national rankings. I’m tired of these sychopantic suck-ups who have no idea what “good” education looks like, yet support people like her. It’s insane, but it figures, look at the City. Bye Henderson. Yuk.

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